Canning Chicken 

This past Saturday started early on the homestead.  We picked up Owen and Evie, our butchering partners and started in on the chickens.  Several months ago, I bought 60 chicks from the co-op and we set them up in their nursery.  There is nothing like those soft little chicks peeping while they race around.  So cute!

We actually had 30 extra chicks that were for laying.  I ordered 10 Barred Rocks, 10 Buff Orpingtons, and 10 Americaunas that lay the blue and green eggs.  The boys put down some saw dust for bedding.  It worked great.  As soon as the 60 meat birds were about 2 weeks old, my husband made a chicken tractor.

After doing some research he found a great design that seemed like it would be the best option in the long run for us.  It was a hoop house chicken tractor.

This tractor is about 6 foot tall and it is nice because you can walk right in and they can have shelter from the hot Tennessee sun!  Each morning the boys would push it over the grass and it would give them a brand new patch of grass to pick around on.  This keeps the chickens clean and offers them fresh ground.

We hung a water bucket from the ceiling that had little nipple drips off the bottom of the pail. That worked amazing because typically, when you have a regular gravity water, they end up stepping in it and making it a mess!  They just tap the nipples and it offers them the water they need.  And believe me, we filled that water container about 2 or 3 times a day near the end!

We made that they had all the feed they wanted.  We are spoiled because we live in this Plain community and one of the farmers makes the feed.  It is organic, non GMO, and it is 1/2 the price of regular feed.  It pays to be in a community like this!

We had a stray dog break in several times and it consumed some of our meat birds.  Eventually we beefed up the chicken wire enough that a dog could not chew through it.  That brought our final number down to 40 meat birds.  It is part of the farm life, you win some, you lose some.

It became a really nice system.  Owen was doing the killing while Mark and the boys were cleaning.  No, we did not have a plucker!  For next year, we are planning to make one because plucking 40 birds by hand added about 3 hours to the process or more.  Pluckers take care of business in short order.  In comparison, it takes about 20 seconds a bird rather than 20 minutes.  That makes a big difference in the work load!

Us girls were taking the clean birds and bringing them into the kitchen for the next step of cutting meat off the bone and canning.  We did about 12 chickens this way.
Evie and I deboned the birds, reserved the bones for making stock, and sent the meat to Molly and Megan to cut into chunks for canning.
First, we had to skin the chickens.  I love using the skin and feet for the stock.  I scrubbed, boiled, and skinned the feet first, of course!  Here is Megan cleaning the pieces of chicken and cutting into chunks.

We simply add the chunks to wide mouth jars and add one teaspoon of salt to each jar. That easy!  We covered them with new canning lids and rings.  We pressure canned the meat 10lbs pressure for 90 minutes.  We ended up with 22 quarts of chicken chunks!  You have no idea how handy it is to have this in the pantry.  I love it because I can pop open a jar and I can whip out a casserole or make chicken fajitas in a pinch.

I make oriental dishes with my canned chicken or curry and lentils with it.  I can make chicken pot pies, anything really.  Most people buy things like canned tuna from the store.  Well, if you have canned chicken, it is the same thing YET way better!  I can make chicken salad if I drain the broth off.  The sky is the limit.

After the chicken was in the jars it was time to fine tune the freezer roasting chickens.  Wow, they were big.  We had some 8 pounders!  There is usually pin feathers to remove at the end.  Then we put them in 2 gallon freezer bags to store in the freezer.  This winter we will enjoy plenty of great meals.
The very last thing I did was cook down the bones, skin, and feet.  I added an onion, some celery stalks, pepper corns, and salt to the stock pot while it was cooking for about 4 hours at a boil.  The house was filled with such a delicious aroma.  I strained out the bones and canned up the rich broth in quart jars.  we ended up with about 18 quarts of some great
stock!  Same canning, pressure canning for 90 minutes 10 pounds pressure.
I am so thankful for my canner that was given to us from our great friends in Maine, the Dosties.  It is the biggest All American canner and it has been such a blessing!  It cans 18 quarts at a time with two levels.  You can get these great canners from the Homestead Store, from our friends, the Gundersons, in Oregon.  We have some pretty great friends from coast to coast!
It was a long day!  We started at 8 am and did not end canning until about 8 pm.  But the kitchen was all cleaned, all the dishes washed and we just sat in the living room with our feet up enjoying the satisfaction that we put up a lot of food for the winter.  What a good feeling!

Friends of our from Kansas make an amazing soap called Cedarwood Spice and when they gave me the soap back in July, they told me this was the only soap that takes farm odors out of the hands.  When you are cleaning birds, that smell is hard to get to.  We tried dawn when it dawned on me that I had that soap from the Seagrens.  I pulled the soap from the box and used it.  Wow, it is amazing!  I must say.  All of their soaps are amazing.  It is called Lost Creek Soaps.

All my best recipes are in this amazing cookbook that I helped orchestrate years back…Pieces of the Past cookbook.  It also has many other homestead recipes contributed from our homesteading community post!   
http://www.piecesofthepastcookbook.com

I love promoting good farm family businesses!  I want to do more of this.  I am going to have a page on my blog with a FREE ad place to promote great small family business.  It has to be an online business, but why not help the body of Christ.  You can buy from walmart, it may be cheaper, but why not support small business owners.
I will have a directory page.  If you are interested in promoting your small family online business, contact us.  I will even post yours for FREE just because it helps you more.  Most blogs will charge you hundreds of dollars.  And for most of us small business owners, we just can’t afford it.  Why not help my neighbor?  It is all about loving my neighbor as myself.  I know how that is.  Send me a little button for your shop and description to my email…
erin@keeperofthehomestead.com

I will get back to you if I need anything else.  Of course I will make sure it is a product that I think our readers would find helpful and one that we would be proud to endorse.  This is what community is all about, helping each other out.

 

5 thoughts on “Canning Chicken ”

  1. Awesome… we raise our own chickens also, for meat and laying… got a question though, when you are canning your meat chunks you only added salt? no liquids of any kind? Keep up the awesome posts!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing, Erin! When I get a chance to stop by your blog, I am always blessed by your posts. This one is another fine example of that and your willingness to help others. I have been visiting your sites and gleaning so much about homesteading in the last several years, even before we were able to purchase our dream farm and now I still come back eager to learn some more. So thankful to be your sister in Christ. Looking forward to the day I can thank you in person. God Bless!

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    One more cool post. We’re making canning chicken, too. But I don’t really remember the recipe as I help a little. That’s the work of my granny. They do know how to do it great for us to eat a tasty chicken.)))

  4. What a great job you are all doing there. To have all that farm fresh chicken ready to use in casseroles or stir fries. Yummy stock for soups and gravies, and baked dinners with those big chickens. You really have it all covered. Wish I was there to help you all. Nice apron Megan 🙂 love Vicki xx

  5. This is wonderful. That is what we should do and ne, front walkers pf our joyful faith in Jesus Christ.
    Another inspiration. Thanks Erin. May God bless all your businesses in your community.

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